There are whole districts in New Orleans that have hardly been touched in the three months since Katrina and the flood. There's still no power, and for miles in all directions there are yards full of debris and houses full of toxic mold and ruined furniture and people's jumbled belongings. It's mind-boggling. A few residents of these places are trying to return, but the houses are uninhabitable and they have no place to stay, and almost no one is offering any help. I kept seeing these FEMA notices posted on people's front doors stating that the owner wouldn't be eligible for housing assistance until they could be present for an inspection. Where they're supposed to stay while they're there to help FEMA carry out the inspection, no one seems to care. I was working with the Common Ground Collective, a grassroots organization set up in response to the disaster, starting to help people clean out homes and community spaces, but it's a huge job, and even with 300 volunteers there last week, I'm afraid what we accomplished was more symbolic than anything else.
Below is Debra Jordan's house, where I worked on cleanup Wednesday, plus a picture of Debra herself.
More on Common Ground later, but please donate if you can.